Terry Lollback is the chair of PICA’s Queensland chapter and has worked in the government sector for 10 years, now serving in the disability sector. He is a gifted property investor with an impressive portfolio, having accumulated 15 properties in the past 8 years since he began his property journey.
Join us in this episode of Property Investory to hear how Lollback replaced an income in his household, bringing in around $70,000 of passive income after all costs, how he juggles working in the disability sector, acting as chair of PICA and finds time to build on his own portfolio!
- PICA (Property Investors Council of Australia)
- Davao City, Philippines
- Brisbane, Queensland
- Australian National Liners
- Queensland Government, Department of Natural Resources and Mines
- Central Queensland University
Terry Lollback (00:00):
It becomes quite addictive, in that you get one property then you get another one and you keep multiplying and in terms of investing, this COVID time has been quite good for us.
This is Property Investory where we talk to successful property investors to find out more about their stories, mindset and strategies.
I’m Tyrone Shum and in this episode we’re speaking with Terry Lollback, gifted investor with over 15 properties in his portfolio. We learn how he manages to juggle his own projects whilst working in the disability sector and as chair of the Queensland chapter of PICA. We also hear about the many lessons he has learnt along the way, which have made him successful in the property game.
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With 15 investment properties in his portfolio and looking to add more to that, Lollback juggles the demands of a regular nine to five job and his other commitments.
Terry Lollback (00:04):
In addition to being a property investor, I'm the chair of the Queensland chapter of PICA, which is the Property Investors Council of Australia. I also work in the disability sector where I assist people with injuries and long term disabilities in getting back on their feet and helping them find employment.
A typical day for Lollback is a mixture of overseeing the progress of personal projects and also involves working in the disability sector, which has been more intense this year.
Terry Lollback (00:57):
Basically what I do if it's a Monday to Friday, I do have a nine to five. And that is in the disability sector. So I assist, like I said, assist people who are long term disabled, getting them back on their feet and finding work and employment. It's been a trying time with COVID. We've been doing pretty well with that. Also, I'm an active investor, so I'm always on the lookout for new opportunities
I’m a martial artist, so I do that every day and also go to the gym and that has been quite an important part of my life. My partner and I also try to go out at least once a week and considering we’re both so busy, that can be hard. However, we find that it’s very important and that you’ve just gotta make the time to unwind. We've just been blessed with how property investing has changed our lives so we want to make the most of it.
Throughout his childhood Lollback would move back and forth from the Philippines to Australia, struggling to find where he fit in.
Terry Lollback (02:58):
My Dad is Australian and my Mum is Philipino, so I was born in the Philippines and grew up there. It's quite interesting actually because at the age of two, my Mum decided to migrate here to Sydney with my Dad, but he was always working fly in fly out. He worked in the oil rigs or mineral vessels and would fly in and fly out. He was basically three months on, three months off and after about a year of attempting to live here, my Mum found it too difficult and decided that we would head back to the Philippines.
My parents had properties there and my Dad agreed, so we moved back to the Philippines. I stayed there until I was 10 and because of that I’m fluent in Filipino. My Dad's plan was really to retire there, so they had built up a little bit of a property portfolio there and had a number of properties and also even a salt farm. My Dad had me fairly late in life, he was 49 when he had me and had a blocked artery while we were in the Philippines. He had quite a number of substantial medical issues that needed to be addressed in 1990 which, on top of the recession, really hit him quite hard and as a result he had to sell a number of the assets and we moved to Australia. Although my life in the Philippines was fantastic, when we made the move to Australia it was quite a different lifestyle. Even though my Dad did invest, he didn’t quite have the mindset and so I did see my parents struggle. His goal was to spend the money from his properties and enjoy life for that time. He didn't really think much about the future and he had his reasons for that, but nevertheless it was quite difficult moving back. I was three the first time I left Australia and so this move was particularly difficult, but it was also very good because I love the school system here and I really enjoyed it compared to the Philippines at the time. There was lots of corporal punishment in the Philipines school system and it was just strange and as you know Tyrone, coming from that Asian background, they can be very strict with your study regime and what not. I did study but I also liked sports and I enjoyed hanging out with my friends and that was not really rewarded well in the Philippines education system, whereas here it was and you know, I went from a child that didn't do so well in the Philippines to a child doing quite well here in Australia. This made my Mum and Dad very happy. I grew up in the north side of Brisbane where I still reside today, attending Kedron Primary School and then attending high school in the area as well. I then moved up to Pine Rivers in the Moreton Bay region just outside of Brisbane and have been here ever since. I’ve also travelled around Australia but I’ll mention that a bit later.
Yeah, that sounds great. Do you remember roughly what age you left the Philippines and came back to Australia?
Terry Lollback (06:51):
I had just turned 10 and I started grade five when I moved back to Australia. In fact, because of the differences in the education systems I didn’t get a break from grade four to grade five, I did not get a summer holiday. I only had about two weeks off when we moved here and so I basically studied grade four to grade five non stop.
Gosh. That must have been really, really challenging.
Terry Lollback (07:19):
It was [especially at that young age].
WHY LOLLBACK SETTLED IN BRISBANE
So Terry, it's really exciting to be able to hear that you came back to Australia and how it was going through the school system and obviously you've stayed in and around the Queensland area. Did your parents ever think about coming back to Sydney because that's where you were initially from?
Terry Lollback (07:35):
Yeah, so my Dad is actually from Coogee in Sydney and so is my grandfather. The only reason we moved to Brisbane and not to Coogee was because at that time my Dad worked for the Australian National Liners and was based in Gladstone working on the mining bauxite. So they would get the bauxite and minerals from Gladstone and transport them to Weipa and then elsewhere. It was just more ideal for him to be based out of Brisbane and when we moved there, my Dad's work was now six weeks on, six weeks off. So we spent a lot of time with him when he was off work for those six weeks.
Did he actually continue to work all the way through in Queensland or did he have to fly elsewhere into different states?
Terry Lollback (08:47):
He stayed in Queensland, so he would fly to Gladstone and then he would hop on the ship there. Gladstone was really the port of call for him.
So what was it like, because I've never had a parent who was six weeks in six weeks out? Did you notice the differences?
Terry Lollback (09:07):
It was really great when he was around and when he wasn't he would call every night at a certain time, so we'd be on the phone to him all the time. It was a very good childhood because when he was home, he was really home and was always present, he wasn't bogged down with work or other things. But when he was away, my Mum was always there as well. She would always be there for school events and the school was understanding because they knew that my Dad was fly in, fly out.
Right and are you an only child or do you have siblings?
Terry Lollback (09:45):
I have a younger brother, so it would have been really tough for him during that time. He was three when we moved back to Australia so his experience would be very different from my experience. He pretty much grew up here, whereas my Mum and I would speak Filipino to each other and whatnot.
TRAVELLING A LOT FOR WORK MEANT THAT LOLLBACK COULD OBSERVE THE PROPERTY MARKET ALL OVER AUSTRALIA
And have you been back to the Philippines since then?
Terry Lollback (10:20):
Yes many times. I have also moved around a lot because of my work. I worked in the Queensland and South Australian Government's in marketing and international relations for about 10 years. So during that time, I moved around quite a bit and when I was in South Australia, I was also flying to the Philippines maybe three or four times a year. We go there a lot and in fact, my first foray into investing was a property we still own in the Philippines and it's quite a bit of a story, so i’ll save that.
That's fascinating. Do you have a lot of family that are still living in the Philippines or that have ever moved to Australia?
Terry Lollback (11:11):
We do, my partner is actually from the Philippines as well. So I have aunties and other relatives that still live there and one of my cousins has moved to Australia. That’s why we love going back to the Philippines because we get to see everyone, we try to go back at least once a year.
Yeah. Which part of the Philippines?
Terry Lollback (11:31):
Well, I'm from Mindanao. It's down South.
WORKING IN THE GOVERNMENT SECTOR STRAIGHT OUT OF UNIVERSITY
Lollback was always interested in studying importing and exporting and so after high school he spent about 18 months at TAFE doing exactly this. It was at this stage that he had completed the equivalent of his first year of university, continuing on his degree of marketing and international business which would lead him into his career.
Terry Lollback (12:11):
I really enjoyed uni and so I decided to stay on and complete my Master's right after I finished my degree. I was very lucky in that halfway through the Masters I got an internship with the Queensland Government and started my work with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines as a project officer in their international relations unit. From that I became an advisor with Transport and Main Roads, again in their international trade relations unit. I stayed there for quite a while in a managerial role and then I got into the Department of Education.
You've been around the government sector for quite some time.
Terry Lollback (13:32):
Yes and at that stage i was still quite young, being 27 years old and I was considering doing a regional stint. An opportunity arose at the Central Queensland University, which I decided to take. I was in charge of their international marketing in Rockhampton CQU and this position was actually created for me through their change of branding, in which I made a lot of changes to CQ University.
I do remember that.
Terry Lollback (14:12):
Yeah so my role included the ‘be what you can be’ brand and that was fantastic work that i got to do. Rockhampton was a terrific place and the team there was really great, I can't say enough good things about them. After that I moved to Adelaide because of a marketing manager job I got offered at TAFE SA, working in their international unit once again.
And what was it that you studied at University?
Terry Lollback (14:42):
I did international business and marketing, so very fitting.
Ah, okay, that makes sense considering your past roles.
Terry Lollback (14:47):
I love Adelaide and I love the South Australian government. I did a lot during my time there and also started to look into and travel to the regional areas too which is a big part of my strategy today. Due to unfortunate circumstances, about six years ago we moved back as my father was in palliative care. It was a really difficult time but my Dad had a good run.
HIS FIRST INVESTMENT IN THE PHILIPPINES WAS FAR FROM PERFECT
During his time in Adelaide, Lollback was separated from his mum and dad.
Terry Lollback (15:41):
I would fly in to see them a couple of times a year, because at that stage I had gone through a divorce with my first wife and my son’s mother and my son had moved back to Queensland with his mother so I would also go back to visit him.
Yeah, okay. It's very interesting that you've had a lot of experience in different states as well, because I assume SA and Queensland have completely different types of lifestyles as well. How long were you in SA for?
Terry Lollback (16:15):
I was in SA for about three and a half years in entirety.
It was about eight years ago, when living in South Australia that Lollback purchased his first investment property in the Philippines. However, as many investors can recall, this first purchase taught him what not to do in the future.
Terry Lollback (16:35):
My partner and I had been together for 10 years at this stage and I had quite a good salary, so when we saw an opportunity to buy a really nice property being developed in Davao in the Philippines for a fraction of the price, we jumped at the chance. With this being my first foray into investing I made every mistake in the book...I bought off the plan, it was a new development and I didn't really read the fine print of the contract and all of these other mistakes that a lot of investors make everyday. So although I got it quite cheaply, it took them so long to build. They went three years over schedule and that was due to a lot of red tape.
How long was this development actually scheduled for completion?
Terry Lollback (17:51):
PROPERTY INVESTING RUNS IN THE FAMILY
So how did you end up buying a property back in the Philippines when you were living in South Australia at the time?
Terry Lollback (18:00):
My partner comes from a family of property investors who are quite well off and so when this came about she suggested that we look into it as it might be a good investment. I didn’t really look at it as an investment however, I just bought it for the sake of it. We go back to Davao all the time and to visit family and agreed that it would be a nice place to spend time.
More like a lifestyle property that you can stay in when you go back to the Philippines to visit family. That way you don’t have to worry about finding accommodation.
Terry Lollback (19:11):
It was very much like that, however there was just so much red tape. I didn’t initially put all of the money down, I was making payments on it and there was only about 10,000 that still needed to be paid off. But the interest rates were huge, it was almost 20%. So I paid that off quick smart and there were just so many more mistakes attached to that property. But in saying that, it's made at least four to five times what we paid for it and it has turned out to be a good investment. This is partly due to the fact that in the Philippines, there's 100 million people and land is scarce, so premium houses like the one that we purchased are very attractive to a lot of the XPat Filipinos that want to purchase homes. So what was once a lemon has now become quite a good investment.
Yeah absolutely. So you mentioned that was about 10,000 Australian dollars that you had left to pay off? Is that right?
Terry Lollback (20:27):
Yeah, I didn't pay much for it, in fact it's made more. I'm trying to calculate the exchange rates, I probably paid about 36,000.
Okay, yep. So it would have been divided by 32, roughly about $1000?
Terry Lollback (20:47):
No, I paid 36,000 Australian dollars.
Oh okay right.
Terry Lollback (20:56):
Yeah and I checked, it’s now worth about 4.5 to 5 million pesos.
Ah, okay, that's substantial.
Terry Lollback (21:08):
Yeah. So it's made quite a lot back from that property. In fact, we were offered about 4.5 million for it from a real estate agent and we said, ‘No, we're not keen on selling’.
Okay. So you've kept that, obviously so that you can go back in and rent it out?
Terry Lollback (21:22):
We're tossing up whether we do that or not. We might put it on Airbnb as it’s at quite an attractive location, but at the moment this is not really part of our strategy to have non performing assets. It's just one of those things where the cost of keeping it is quite low, so we don't have the rates or anything that I do here as far as holding costs. So we don't mind keeping it for now because the holding costs are quite low.
LOLLBACK’S INVESTING JOURNEY BEGAN ACCIDENTALLY
With over a dozen properties scattered over several states in Australia and in the Philippines, Lollback attributes his large portfolio to prioritising cash flow.
Terry Lollback (22:29):
The majority of properties that I have purchased in my portfolio are in South Australia. The three areas that we usually purchase in are Adelaide, Whyalla and Port Augusta. We also have four in New South Wales, one in Brisbane and another one in Queensland. So as part of our strategy, cash flow is very important for us. We essentially wanted something that could replace our incomes, or at least replace one of our incomes and we’ve done that. It becomes quite addictive, in that you get one property then you get another one and you keep multiplying and in terms of investing, this COVID time has been quite good for us. For example, there was a property in Port Augusta, which I bought for 40% of the market value and the guy just wanted to sell. I had it revalued and 40% of what the actual valuation was is now that of the property. This was only about three months ago, so it's definitely a cash cow and is a duplex that gives out a lot.
Lollback’s highly successful property investing journey began eight years ago after he was given the opportunity to purchase his family’s home. He didn’t initially have any thoughts of going down the investing path but recalls doing so by accident.
Terry Lollback (24:23):
My Mum was wanting to retire at this time and that’s why I ended up buying the family home.
Was that in Queensland?
Terry Lollback (24:43):
In Brisbane and that's my principal place of residence today. So I was presented with the opportunity and I bought it off my Mum which allowed her to then retire. She now lives about 50 kms away in Bribie Island in a really nice place that she’s really happy in. It turned out to be a win-win situation for both of us. Even when purchasing the family home and the property in the Philippines, I wasn’t inclined to continue investing. As I mentioned, I do martial arts and I'm researching a book that I'm writing on the martial art style that I do and one of the past masters was a landowner. So I saw this land that he was selling that was just 80 kms outside of Adelaide and he wanted a specific amount for it, but I thought I'd lowball the offer in the off chance that he accepts. The offer was so low to the point where I was expecting him to say, ‘you're mad?’, but to my surprise he accepted.
Wow. He must have really needed the money.
Terry Lollback (26:25):
Yeah that's it exactly so I thought, ‘Wow, this is alright’. Then I had a big problem because I wasn't working at this stage and wasn’t sure what I was going to do. But thank goodness for South Australia and their minimum deposit for property investors, which is only 10%! So I bought this property and only had to put a deposit down of $200.
Oh, that is phenomenal.
Terry Lollback (26:57):
So then after he accepted I told him that I wanted a 60 day settlement and that was perfectly fine because he still needed to move some of his things out. After that I had to deal with the fact that I had no job at the time and was asking myself how I was going to pay for everything, however I was able to find work pretty quickly through my contacts. I then found out from the man that his reasons for accepting my absolute lowball offer was because he had bought it a long time ago and didn’t pay much for it, although it has risen phenomenally. My next step was to call the Mid Murray Council and find out whether I could subdivide this land that was 200 acres, who then informed me that I could subdivide it to other acreage and I realised that I could just sell one lot and recoup my money. I started to feel like this deal was too good to be true because everything just kept falling into place and just felt too easy, so I was constantly calling the conveyancer and asking if he could back out of the deal at this point. I was reassured that that generally doesn’t happen and that this man was probably more fearful of me backing out of the deal. The deal ended up closing without a hitch. This was just a retiree in that certain stage in life where he just wanted to move on and get things done quickly with no hiccups. So it turned out to be another win-win situation, although I got a big win.
To put it into perspective, we got 200 acres and a neighbouring property that was twice the size was recently listed for $2.5 million. Another guy who owns a property close by has four acres and recently sold his for $150,000 and I paid less than $100,000 for mine, so it’s been a massive win for us. My role at PICA, which is essentially an investor for investors, actually helps me out in my own property investing so much. I tell people not to overlook land investing, as it’s something that is done in America a lot but here in Australia we don't really do it the same and people are missing out. Yes there are holding costs and it's not producing any money unless you do something with it, but you can come up with some great deals and some great wins by seeing opportunity.
BUYING PROPERTIES AND WORRYING ABOUT THE MONEY LATER
This land investment was not the only deal Lollback closed whilst not having a job. By thinking outside of the box he snatched up another property for close to nothing.
Terry Lollback (30:13):
I bought two at about the same time, the second one was another block of land in a town called St. George. My partner really wanted to get this property but unfortunately it’s not producing so much. In fact, that's one of those properties that you don’t really want to talk about.
Lollback discovered that even when a property looks like a good investment, if it’s not making any money then it probably isn’t worth keeping. This was the property that cemented Lollback’s number one strategy of cash flow.
Terry Lollback (31:08):
My partner saw the price and it was pretty good, it's worth a lot more than what we paid for it and it's a property that we just want to keep for a bit. The problem is that there's not much you can do with it, you can subdivide it but in some of these areas it’s not a good idea. Buying this property definitely taught me a lot and you make mistakes through purchases. But as I say, it's not a mistake if you can wear it and in this case it’s neither here nor there for us. It’s just an asset that we have and will have to decide on what to do with in the future.
IF IT’S NOT MAKING YOU MONEY THEN WHY ARE YOU KEEPING IT?
What were some of the factors that didn't make it an outstanding asset?
Terry Lollback (31:57):
It's four blocks of prime land in a regional town and we paid next to nothing for it. It's the holding costs and the fact that I'm not using it for anything. If you keep a property like this you have to ask yourself why are you keeping it? What are your reasons for keeping it? Our decision behind keeping it is that we will get money back afterwards, but we want to just keep it to see what we might do with it in the future.
Yeah. It's more about lost opportunity cost I guess you'd say because potentially, as you said, if it's not performing and not generating revenue then you could potentially invest into something else.
Terry Lollback (33:01):
Exactly, so the opportunity cost for this property is that we could use it to get a property in a similar area that would be generating us 14% and would pay itself off. Then you’re pocketing about $8000 a year out of just that one property. But at the end of the day, if I was right all the time when property investing, I’d have 100 properties by now.
**PROPERTY INVESTING STRATEGY**
HOW TO REPLACE YOUR INCOME
After accumulating 15 properties in the last eight years, we find out roughly what the value of the portfolio is worth at this point in time.
Terry Lollback (00:06):
I had a rough calculation of it not too long ago using the Commonwealth Bank app and it's worth about $3.5 million.
Right and as you said it's positive cash flow, what kind?
Terry Lollback (00:20):
Yeah it’s positive and that’s the goal, to have that positive cash flow after all of the costs and rates. The properties are making us about $100,000 a year, but if you take off all of the costs it’s around $70,000 a year.
Lollback’s portfolio began to grow enormously when he realised that there was a lot of potential in regional areas. He found that you can minimise risk in these areas tremendously just by knowing the market.
Terry Lollback (01:06):
I bought two land investments in regional New South Wales. It was a town of close to 20,000 people and the aha moment for me was not listening to naysayers. Yes, your growth is very important, we all do it for growth and when someone says they're not doing it for growth, they are. Unless you're investing in Japan, which is a place I go to every year as well, you're doing it for growth. But people will tell you to avoid the regional areas and that’s totally fair, but that is their strategy so it only suits them. There are people that are making six figure incomes, positive cash flow without a worry in the world investing in regional areas, which you can get 14 to 18% returns in, which is phenomenal. When you’re a landlord you’ve got to know who your potential tenants are, so as long as you understand your market you’ll do fine, it's basic economics and if the numbers make sense, then do it. But my aha moment was releasing that you can make really good money out of regional areas and potentially replace your income or incomes.
I'm pretty sure listeners are probably scratching their heads and wondering ‘How far outside of the main capital cities would you go to find a property like that?’
Terry Lollback (03:21):
You go anywhere. My philosophy is you chase deals and do whatever it takes and if the numbers make sense then why wouldn't you pick it up and add it to your portfolio? If it's not affecting you negatively, then go ahead. You do have to do proper due diligence, for example, in a lot of instances people might trip over themselves if an investment is not producing good returns. But, when you think about it, if a particular regional area is charging quite high rates, you need to know that it eats up on your own on your bottom line, which you don't want. You should be willing to look anywhere and my strategy is to look at the tenants, the two basics that you need to be concerned about is servicing and your tenants. As long as it's a town and a regional town that has industry and is quite vibrant in a way that there are a lot of people going in, and there is a big hospital, something like that will provide work, it's fine. There are good people that live in a lot of regional areas that need accommodation and if you just look at the numbers, regional towns can be good. When people say, ‘Oh no your growth isn't going to be good’, then you manufacture growth, you use your negotiating skills to get in low and then you've got your growth automatically. You've already built up equity just from that, and I've been able to multiply my portfolio just doing that exactly. There are a lot of great investors that I have a lot of respect for and listen to, but a strategy has to be personal, it’s got to be based on what you have and what you want. If I was to listen to someone saying, ‘No don't invest in that, that's too far from a major city or there's only 15,000 people, you're not going to get any growth’, then I probably wouldn’t be doing anything. I might have two or three properties here in a capital city, but that would be it. So it all depends on what you want and it's based on where you are in life and where you want to go, that's how I look at it. Do the maths and if it works out for you, then go for it.
Yeah, totally. So it requires quite a bit of skill to have built up a portfolio of your size and you've got to understand a bit of financing, where to look for the properties, how to structure it correctly and so forth. Is your strategy to purchase one property and then another property to create equity so that you can leapfrog to the next one?
Terry Lollback (07:06):
So a lot of the equity that we started off with was from my principal place of residence. We had done some renovations and I got a good deal when purchasing it as it was bought from family. That gave us a little bit of equity so then we were able to multiply a little bit that way. However, that soon stopped and so you've got to get some other properties that are going to build you some equity and when people say, ‘You can't buy in the region, they're not going to build you equity’, yes you can, but you need to negotiate well. This is where I think skill comes into it, in that you need to know the area, know when you’re dealing with distressed sellers and if you buy well, you can build enough equity to duplicate again. That’s what I mean when I say you don't have to wait for growth, you can manufacture it. If you can negotiate well in the beginning, then you’re already winning.
Yeah and that's crucial too. I think that's what all investors need to understand, that in order to be able to get a good property, you’ve got to actually think of the end goal. It's usually buying well that helps you because there's no point buying a property and praying and hoping that it will go up because you don't know when that's gonna happen. But it's really right at the beginning, at your entry point where you're going to be able to make your money.
Terry Lollback (09:00):
Yeah and you’re right Tyrone. My passion at university was share trading and it still is a passion of mine and sometimes we speculate with shares, but it’s without proper research. It’s the same with property and it’s almost quite foolish to think it’s going to keep replicating just based on past trends. This is where you need to negotiate, it’s got to be on your terms and you need to start putting some of those strategies into practice. The next time you’re purchasing a home you can negotiate or even go to a place where there aren’t as many buyers and negotiate a little bit better.
HOW SUBDIVIDING CAN MAKE YOU MORE MONEY
Very smart strategy there. Excellent. The other thing that you mentioned was renovations and subdivision developments, have you done many of those on the properties that you've purchased?
Terry Lollback (10:14):
We have done renovations and subdivisions, for example, a duplex that we purchased in Port Augusta which was on 2000 square metres, had been subdivided by the previous owner. They subdivided the back of it to build another property. They had actually done a re-amalgamation of it so I would only be paying for the one title, it's two titles instead of three. So that's certainly something to look into in the future, but we've done renovations on that same place. We renovated one of the other units and, and that was the one that I had it revalued by the bank. I paid $110,000 for it and they revalued it at $235,000.
Wow. That's very, very good.
Terry Lollback (11:18):
Then you have your duplication and you can buy another one.
Terry Lollback (11:22):
That all came out of negotiating well.
That's phenomenal to be able to hear that and I think this is what investors want to know and need to understand. Negotiate well and pick the right deals, but also think outside of the box.
Terry Lollback (11:39):
They've got to.
Having already established a successful career prior to investing, Lollback realised that although he loved his job, like everyone else he was expendable. He was ultimately chasing after financial freedom, knowing that work can come and go when you least expect it.
Terry Lollback (12:08):
Alongside that is having the mentality of never giving up and that’s how I've been successful. For example, the reason why I got into investing was that work came with a lot of stress and sometimes you’ve got to take a break, even when it’s a job that you love. I didn’t want that anymore, I wanted to have the option of not working and still having money there, a passive income. I also wanted to start enjoying the finer things in life, without the stress, not knowing that it might be there or may not if you're not working.
THE INVESTOR FOR INVESTORS
Working a nine to five job doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t also have outside activities that impact the community. Lollback shares his experience with PICA.
Terry Lollback (13:23):
When getting into property investing, I wanted to learn from other investors. I don't really like spruikers and there are a lot of spruikers in the industry unfortunately. It’s ironic because sometimes the spruikers are actually pretty good, but they still spruik so you’ve got to watch out. I looked into PICA and it was a not-for-profit, it was essentially property investors for property investors who will lobby the government on behalf of investors. I joined because I wanted to give back and was mostly involved in the group here in Queensland. We have successfully lobbied against some of the proposed government rental reforms here in Queensland. A number of the property investors here played a very big part in getting the state government to reverse those proposed laws which were very unfair to property investors.
What kind of laws for example?
Terry Lollback (14:45):
An example included some tenancy agreements which allowed for people to break the tenancy and although they made the case for domestic violence, which we supported, we just wanted it to be fair. It couldn’t just benefit the tenants without looking out for the property investors also because some investors might only have one or two properties and are just trying to change their lifestyles a little bit and are new to the game. It was something that could have been disastrous.
Yeah totally and without tenants in our properties, there is no passive income. So it's very important that the government and I guess lobbyists be able to work out the best situation for everyone and make it work. Have you dealt with anything in regards to affordable housing because that's also a big issue that has come up in recent news?
Terry Lollback (15:45):
Yeah, certainly. It's funny because I've got a number of properties in outback New South Wales such as Broken Hill and one of my tenants is a part of a group called Compass, which is an affordable housing group. They're great tenants and we've had no problems with them, but there certainly are a number of investors here that do look into that.
Yeah and NDIS, do you know much about their work or are involved in that area?
Terry Lollback (16:24):
Yeah, in fact we're looking to do some investments with some NDIS housing actually, which can be good returns. Yeah. So it's funny you mentioned that because I just had a long, long meeting with someone yesterday about it. So it might be a joint venture that I do pretty soon.
Lollback is an avid reader and shares with us some of the resources that has inspired him along his investing journey.
Terry Lollback (17:07):
I collect a lot of books on martial arts, property investing and investing in general. I really like reading older books. There's a book by William Nickerson written in the 1950s about mindset and it's actually written for an American market, but it’s beautiful. Sometimes it's good to read a lot of old texts because some of the recent books that have come out, particularly if it's a buyer's agent or whatnot releasing them, yes, there's some good information there but it's almost like a business card. It's not like the old books where it's got everything on there. Ben Kingsley has got some great stuff out there on property investment for the Australian market, Margaret Lomas and of course Jan Somers who you've had on the podcast. But another thing that I think is missing in a lot of them is strategy so I read up a lot of strategic books really and as a child I used to love the book of five rings with Miyamoto Musashi on the art of war. Books like that, which give you a good mindset and encourage you to not give up are great. Most importantly because at the start of the process it’s in the negotiating and there's a story that I want to mention and it's another duplex in Whyalla. I made an offer on that about five months ago, and it settles this week, but the seller initially said no to my offer. I understood and just left it at that and during that time we ended up purchasing three other places. Then I started to think, this is a good deal so I made him another offer and he took it. I knew what he was after but it made him feel like he had a win because he did get a good deal. I got a great deal because I looked at the actual value and looked at other recent sales and I still got it for a fantastic deal. I had another independent valuation done and I paid about $80,000 less than what the valuation is. So although we always want the best deal, you have to remember that negotiating is about win-win outcomes and you've got to be humble about that and you'll be rewarded somewhat. Sometimes you can put in that little bit extra and you're still getting a fantastic deal. I'm still getting 15% return out of this with two long term tenants.
Absolutely. Plus you got an instant uplift of $80,000 as well.
Terry Lollback (21:14):
Yes, exactly. That's always nice.
HOW MARTIAL ARTS CAN HELP CREATE SUCCESSFUL HABITS
Lollback is a martial arts enthusiast and has been since he was young and credits many of his skills and a lot of his success to those practices that were instilled in him. He recalls some of the best advice he has ever received which was from his martial arts master.
Terry Lollback (21:28):
His name is Carlos Navarro and I treat him as my grandfather. He has passed away now, but he once told me ‘Don't give up son’ and always told me that I have a very strong and powerful mind. There have been times when I’ve wanted to give up and I just think of that and it gives me the confidence and drive to continue on. That has probably been the best advice that I've received. He also told me to always be a sponge for learning and to never think you know enough that you can't keep learning and I tell that to a lot of my students. I tell them to never be scared to put on that white belt and those martial arts analogies are important because it may not be someone who invests in property at all, it may be someone who has not done a whole lot but they might tell you one thing that just awakens you.
When thinking about himself 10 years ago, Lollback would not change his actions in terms of how they have affected his finances today. However, in terms of his career, a lot of pressure could have been taken off him.
Terry Lollback (22:41):
I think that when we're younger, we're overly ambitious and unfortunately, I’ve never had someone say to me ‘You’re doing just fine’. Sometimes you don’t think you’re doing well enough and to have someone tell you ‘you’re doing okay’ is everything. It can be all someone needs to hear at that point in their life.
Lollback has vouched for what a good investment year he has had due COVID, purchasing seven properties since December! He has some exciting plans for the future.
Terry Lollback (24:01):
We're continuing to grow the portfolio and in the last year we've been busy. What I would tell people out there is that there are so many deals to find. If you chase the deals, you'll be amazed and the industry really is big enough for everyone. So we certainly want to keep growing, we want to pay down some of it as well.
Oh, yes, yes.
Terry Lollback (24:45):
I do have acreage in Northern New South Wales and we plan to grow a persimmon fruits farm there.
DON’T OVERPAY IN REGIONAL AREAS
With a very successful career and a hugely thriving portfolio, Lollback not only credits that success to his own skill and hard work, but to those who have taught him so much over the years.
Terry Lollback (25:07):
I also think that being able to get back up after misses and mistakes and use that to motivate you and to not make those mistakes again moving forward. I also think it has to do with being a sponge and learning people around you, soaking up their knowledge and taking advice from respected investors. However to also know what suits your strategy. The advice I want to give people is don't overpay in regional areas. There are some investors winning awards when they have horrendously overpaid in regions. All you really have to do is research neighbouring towns that would not be in that catchment and then you will realise ‘Oh, I've paid $350,000 or $500,000 for a property that in the neighbouring town, is only worth $90,000’. I think if you’re not overpaying, then you’ll be alright.